In the video, entitled “Homemade Chicken Shawarma, As Made By Ben Stiller and Ahmed Badr”, Ben joins writer and former Iraqi refugee Ahmed Badr to make an at home version of chicken shawarma, a traditional dish from Ahmed’s homeland Iraq, bringing back memories of his childhood in Baghdad before he was forced to flee.
In the 3 minute special edition Tasty video, Ahmed shares with Ben the story of his family, who were forced to leave Iraq in 2006 when he was just eight years old, and later Syria when he was 10. Discussing the realities, misconceptions and hardships that refugees and displaced people face, Ahmed and Ben connect over their common love of shawarma as they prepare it together — Ben grew up eating shawarma on New York’s Upper West Side. “Shawarma is to Aleppo what pizza is to New York,” said Ahmed.
By highlighting the connection between food, family, memories and culture, Tasty and UNHCR hope to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and the challenges that result from their displacement. The video aims to highlight that refugees are everyday people who have survived extraordinary circumstances and, like everyone else, they have hopes, dreams and favourite foods that remind them of special times and places in their lives. To learn more about UNHCR’s work protecting refugees around the world follow the hashtag #withrefugees or visit withrefugees.org.